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Xavi keen to play down Barcelona injury crisis

Leaders Barcelona make the short hop across the Mediterranean to take on Balearic Islands club Real Mallorca today with the spine of their team sidelined by injury.

Goalkeeper Victor Valdes, captain and central defender Carles Puyol and playmaker Xavi are all unavailable for the match against one of only three teams to take points off them this season.

Xavi played down the situation, saying they were unlikely to hurt the club's bid for a third successive Spanish league title. "These are minor injuries, not lengthy ones," he said. However, their prolific attacking trio of World Player of the Year Lionel Messi and Spain pair David Villa and Pedro, who have 77 goals between them in all competitions, is intact.

Real Madrid have also been affected by injury ahead of their match at Deportivo Coruna in today's late kick-off. Sami Khedira will be out for two to three weeks after damaging a thigh muscle in Tuesday's 1-1 Champions League draw at Olympique Lyon.

Valencia, who currently lie 12 points behind Real in third, play at fifth-placed Athletic Bilbao tomorrow. Villarreal, who dropped below Valencia into fourth after a run of two defeats and a draw, are at Racing Santander tomorrow.

Mallorca v Barcalona,

Live, Sky Sports 4, 7.0

Irish Independent